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February 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Seattle principal isn't headed to Tacoma after all

Tacoma officials withdrew a job offer to Seattle Principal Gregory King on Thursday night after two days of backlash from parents and staff members.

King, currently the principal of Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary, unexpectedly announced his departure from the school earlier this week. The next day, Tacoma Public Schools announced its plans to hire King to lead Bryant Montessori, a kindergarten through 8th-grade school in that district.

But Carla Santorno, the acting superintendent of the district, apparently did not know about an ongoing special investigation into personnel conflicts at Lowell until it was mentioned in a Seattle Times article about King’s move.

Seattle Public Schools officials did not disclose the existence of the investigation during the hiring process, Santorno wrote in a public letter announcing the withdrawal of the job offer. King had “multiple solid references,” she wrote.

In the two days since The Times article ran, dozens of parents and staff members have written to Santorno to urge for a more full vetting process.

Before going to Tacoma in 2009, Santorno served as the chief academic officer in Seattle Public Schools.

King had been set to start at Bryant on Monday, according to a letter sent to staff earlier this week. It’s unclear whether he will instead continue to serve as principal at Lowell. Lesley Rogers, a spokeswoman for Seattle Public Schools did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

The results of the special investigation are set to be released soon, according to district officials. It is being conducted by Cristin Kent, a Seattle attorney who also conducted the district’s investigation into its infamous small-business minority contracting program last year.

Comments | More in Education, General news | Topics: Carla Santorno, Cristin Kent, Gregory King

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